South-central Wisconsin is no stranger to flooding. Tom Diehl remembers the 2008 floods that drained his lake – used for his Tommy Bartlett’s water skiing show – dry.
“It was one big mudhole,” he says. “There were a lot of tears.”
During the June flooding of 2008, the Dell Creek breached the dam that holds Lake Delton, resulting in devastating flooding that destroyed homes and emptied the lake. Diehl was forced to cancel the waterskiing part of his show for the summer.
While measures have been taken to prevent a 2008-level flood from happening again, residents of counties like Sauk, Columbia and Juneau can tell you that annual flooding comes as no surprise.
“You have 18 inches of rain over a very short period of time, every time it rains it just runs off,” says Diehl. “The damage is horrific because of the runoff.”
Across the county in Loganville, Jeff Thieding says he has the solution. Watch the interview here.
“In the situation of a Rock Springs or what happened last year in Louisiana twice, in most cases, people had the time if they had the tools to protect themselves from this overland flooding,” Thieden says.
After the 2008 flooding, Thieding was able to talk with residents of communities like Rock Springs who lost everything they owned in the floods. He became convinced that prevention, not repair and emergency aid, was the answer.
Thieding created Rapid Guard – a five-part protective barrier which he says can be easily installed in homes, businesses, and even to protect entire blocks in a town. Made of recycled materials, it includes a concrete anchor system and a fold-out design that makes it easy to transport and install.
Thieding says that a family could install his system, which he tested and improved at his construction company for three years, for roughly the cost of a car – which could be significantly less than the cost of damage incurred in a flood like the one in 2008.
For those who can’t afford it, Thieding suggested that perhaps an incentive could be created to offer low-interest loans for anyone who wanted a protective system. He says he also advocates for reduced flood insurance rates for anyone who installs such a protective system.
When it comes to protecting residents, Diehl says outside of dam and spillway improvements that have been funded by the government, education is the best tool.
“It’s one of education, which I think the Emergency Management Department does an excellent job on. People who are in low-lying areas have to understand how fast flash flooding can take place.”
Click here to learn more about Rapid Guard.